The best OBD2 scanner and car code reader 2021

Nancy J. Delong

When your dashboard lights up, or your car starts off functioning tough, any amount of things could be wrong. If you’re mechanically inclined and have the appropriate equipment, you could preserve by yourself a great deal of cash by diagnosing and performing on your car by yourself. A person tool that can make the analysis simpler and won’t break the bank is an OBD2 scanner and car code reader. 

A scanner and car code reader that plugs straight into the OBD2 port in your car to obtain the onboard computer systems and systems. The scanner will examine the trouble codes put out by the motor vehicle to assist you diagnose the challenge so you can deal with it and get back again on the road. Even if you’re on a tight finances, you can nevertheless get a good quality OBD2 scanner and car code reader, which could preserve you a vacation to the mechanic. These are some of the greatest OBD2 scanners and car code readers at various cost factors and expertise ranges.

Most effective on a finances


The HyperTough HT309 OBD2 Scan Automotive Diagnostic Tool Code Reader is a uncomplicated, quick-to-use car code reader for motor vehicle entrepreneurs on a finances. You can use this model to examine and apparent engine diagnostic trouble codes in all 1996 and newer U.S., European and Asian cars and trucks. The backlit Liquid crystal display screen screen exhibits generic, manufacturer-unique and pending codes to figure out why your check out engine gentle is on. This unit can also retrieve motor vehicle facts like the CIN, CIN and CVN. If you dwell in a state with emissions demands, you can also monitor and check out the inspection servicing (I/M) readiness status to see if your motor vehicle would go the examination.

There are no added connectors or cables essential with this OBD2 car code reader because it utilizes a common 16-pin connector. The reader also utilizes the car’s battery power to function so that you won’t require batteries. For $20 or fewer at most key vendors, the HyperTough HT309 is a excellent preference for a finances card code OBD2 reader and scanner.


  • Easy to use

  • Inexpensive

  • Plug and participate in

  • Works with all cars and trucks 1996 and newer

  • No batteries, added connectors or cables essential



Most effective for finances information assortment


For the motor vehicle proprietor on the finances who needs to file dwell information, the Vehicle AutoLink AL329 Code Reader OBDII Scanner is a stage up from the HyperTough HT309. The Autel Autolink has all the similar options as the HyperTough but features the capability to graph, file and replay dwell information taken from your motor vehicle. This allows diagnose unique sensors that could cause your motor vehicle to established a check out engine gentle.

When the HyperTough has only two buttons to enter or exit and scroll with a tiny screen screen, the Autel has a bigger screen screen for simpler viewing and arrives with an supplemental button dedicated to checking emissions status. The LED indicator lights easily permit you know if there is a challenge with the car’s engine. The crimson indicator alerts a challenge, and a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is current, though yellow exhibits there could be a challenge, and inexperienced offers the all-apparent.


  • In a position to graph, file and replay dwell information

  • Inexpensive

  • Big screen screen

  • LED indicator lights for fast analysis


Most effective for finances smartphone obtainable diagnostics


For Android and Iphone users who you should not want to offer with a individual scanner, the Actron CP9600 U-Scan Smartphone Interface Scan Tool plugs straight into the OBDII port and utilizes your smartphone to screen its findings. This scan tool works on all cars and trucks 1996 and newer with both equally Asian and domestic check out engine lights. For 1996 to 2013 tends to make and versions, the Actron CP9600 also reads and erases anti-lock brakes (Abs), airbags (SRS) and transmission codes. 

The Actron CP9600 also delivers authentic-time engine information, like coolant temperature, RPM, sensor readings, mass air movement, oxygen sensor and a lot more. Simply just plug in the tool and download the app to your smartphone to get started out. The motor vehicle activity log delivers a heritage of the motor vehicle methods and assessments now finished, and the MyGarage aspect allows you easily obtain and manage motor vehicles. With CodeConnect, fixes for the DTCs are described and confirmed by Actron’s team of ASE-qualified professionals to give the daily driver the self confidence in fixing slight repairs.


  • Can be remaining linked to your OBD2 port at all moments

  • Works with Android and Iphone

  • Browse authentic-time engine information from your phone

  • Reads multiple car systems in newer tends to make and versions


Most effective for finances Bluetooth DTC diagnostic code reading and clearing


If you’re only anxious about check out engine lights but nevertheless want the functionality of employing your smartphone relatively than an OBD2 scanner, think about the FIXD Vehicle Diagnostic Product. This uncomplicated unit plugs into the OBD2 port for most 1996 and newer gasoline-driven motor vehicles and 2008 and newer diesel motor vehicles, offering only the diagnostic trouble code without having the information.

Simply just plug in the unit, start your motor vehicle and tap the scan button on your smartphone to get started out. FIXD works with multiple motor vehicles employing the similar app, comparable to driving tracking units made available by car insurance corporations. For a monthly fee of $5.eighty three, you can get upgraded options like conversing to a mechanic, being aware of how a lot a repair service could price tag, predicting upcoming complications and getting motor vehicle heritage if you approach to invest in a utilised car in the upcoming. 


  • Can connect multiple units with a single app

  • Continue to keep track of motor vehicle servicing

  • Supplies motor vehicle heritage for utilised cars and trucks (high quality services necessary)


  • It does not function for all tends to make and versions

  • Only reads and clears check out engine gentle

  • Have to pay back an supplemental fee for upgraded options

Most effective Bluetooth all-procedure diagnostics


If you’re a mechanic who does most of your possess repairs and wants a Bluetooth solution, the Autel MaxiAP AP 200M is the greatest without having breaking your finances. When the app is free to use, it requires an yearly improve fee of $19.99 to continue diagnosing all your car’s systems for a further year. This multifunction scanner turns your smartphone into a motor vehicle diagnostic powerhouse and features servicing services options that rival a mechanics scan tool.

The Autel MaxiAP AP 200M is an all-procedure diagnostic tool that is able of undertaking most of your regular servicing products and services, like:

  • Oil daily life

  • Throttle angle reset

  • Diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration

  • Electronic parking brake (EPB)

  • Steering angle sensor (SAS)

  • Battery management procedure (BMS)

  • Airbag reset/deployment loops

  • Anti-lock brake (Abs) procedure bleeding

With the Autel MaxiAP AP 200M, you get OE-stage procedure diagnostics with a substantial stage of precision, which can preserve you thousands in excess of visiting a mechanic for services.


  • All-procedure diagnostic plug-in tool with a free smartphone app

  • Works with all 1996 and newer U.S, European and Asian cars and trucks

  • Information diagnostic information in authentic-time to make repair service experiences

  • Inexpensive for the options made available


Most effective for innovative Diy mechanic or new technician


With a cost issue less than $two hundred, this plug-in OBD2 scanner is a excellent solution for a new technician just beginning out or a seasoned Diy mechanic who knows their way all around a car. The Start CRP123X arrives with a large 5″ color screen Hd touchscreen for quick viewing and is rechargeable, so it truly is completely ready each time you require it.

The scan tool works with in excess of fifty seven car makes, masking OBD2/EOBD/JOBD motor vehicles. The Start CRP123X also features a battery voltage tester and automatic VIN know-how to assist you discover your car immediately without having obtaining to enter it manually. You can update the application whenever when linked to Wi-Fi with free life time updates with just a single click. The up-to-date battery is new in 2021, upgraded from 4000mAh to 6100mAh to supply an even for a longer period time in between charges. The four-in-one dwell information graph generates a diagnostic report that can be shared with a mechanic as essential.


  • Cost-free life time updates

  • Features a battery tester

  • 5″ Hd touchscreen screen

  • Upgraded battery daily life in 2021 model

  • Supports fifty seven car makes


  • Only works with Android seven. OS or newer

  • Check to make sure suitable with your motor vehicle

  • Support usually takes time to respond

Most effective for professional stage operation


If you have the finances and want a good quality OBD2 scanner and car code reader that rivals dealership stage diagnostic equipment, the Innova FixAssist 5160RS is a excellent preference. With bi-directional control, this scanner can examination the operation of electrical motors, clutches, and actuators. It performs all reset capabilities to entire repairs or servicing like steering angle reset, DPF regeneration, and parking brake calliper resets for newer motor vehicles with an electrical parking brake.

On best of scanning and clearing all systems, the FixAssist 5160RS can also:

  • Check hybrid battery cell voltage

  • Bleed the Abs procedure

  • Check and recalibrate TPMS/tire strain

  • Relearn throttle entire body

  • Check for compression

  • Check cylinder equilibrium

  • Relearn cam crank posture

With an optional adapter, this model can also function on OBD1 motor vehicles from 1981 to 1995 Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. If you’re not sure if your distinct car is included, you can enter your motor vehicle facts or VIN at the Innova website to validate it will function ahead of buy.


  • Total operation of all motor vehicle systems

  • Optional OBD1 coverage with supplemental adapter

  • Accomplish dealership stage relearn methods

  • Can perform digital parking brake services and Abs brake bleeding for newer cars and trucks

  • It can be paired with diagnostic app RepairSolutions2 for smartphone obtain


How did we decide on these items?

The standards utilised to decide on these items include things like the price tag of the tool, practical options, smartphone obtain talents, procedure use and capability to use with multiple tends to make and versions. I also spoke with a few mechanics in my neighborhood spot who function at dealerships and impartial outlets to get their suggestions on makes and options they use and have experienced constructive activities with. The greatest OBD2 scanners and car code readers detailed earlier mentioned come at various cost factors with unique options and range from fundamental automotive expertise to professional needs. 

Which is the appropriate a single for you?

When purchasing for the greatest OBD2 scanner and car code reader, think about what you require the tool to do. If you only want the capability for checking an engine gentle, then a single of the finances versions could be ample. Having said that, if you do your possess mechanical function and require an innovative model comparable to what a dealership has, think about the better conclusion scanners with a lot more functionality. Once you’ve got narrowed down your choices, make sure to check out that the OBD2 scanner and car code reader will function with your distinct make and model. 

With restricted inventory in new and a bit utilised cars and trucks, the average utilised car consumer is searching at cars and trucks 7 or a lot more model years previous. When you could get a excellent buy cost, the likelihood of a challenge is better with an older model motor vehicle. Buying the greatest OBD2 scanner and car code reader for your make and model can assist you preserve even a lot more by diagnosing and fixing your car by yourself.

Do OBD2 readers function on all cars and trucks?

Most OBD2 scanners and car code readers do not function on all cars and trucks. If you are searching for an OBD2 scanner or car code reader, you need to check out if it works with your distinct make and model ahead of acquiring it.

Is it truly worth acquiring an OBD2 scanner?

It could be truly worth acquiring an OBD2 scanner if you can do your possess mechanical function and require a tool to scan your malfunctioning lights. Some of the a lot more innovative versions can check out all the car’s systems, though the fundamental versions only examine check out engine gentle codes. Carrying out your possess diagnostics and repairs could preserve you thousands by not obtaining to pay back a mechanic to do the function you can do by yourself.

Is it Okay to go away OBD2 plugged in?

Sure, it is okay to go away the OBD2 scanner, and car code reader plugged in. When it won’t hurt your car, it draws tiny amounts of power, so in excess of time, it could drain and get rid of your battery if you do not push your car regularly.

Are there alternatives truly worth considering?

There are thousands of OBD2 scanners and car code readers to decide on from. Think about your needs for a scanner or car code reader and your finances when looking into the available selections. Nevertheless the OBD2 scanners and car code readers outlined are some of the greatest, there are nevertheless alternatives truly worth considering:

  • Cen-Tech OBDII Code Reader: If you have a Harbor Freight close by, this code reader is a bit a lot more pricey than the HyperTough, but it has all the similar options and could have a a lot more long lasting case.

  • Start CRP123: The upcoming stage down from the Start CRP123X, this model is more affordable but does not come with the tire strain checking reset tool.

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